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Waterside Conversations

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you dont have to do it alone
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We’ve all sat in meetings, conferences and workshops for too long with the same results. A few speak. Most disengage. And the opportunity to release the synergy and spacious wisdom in the room goes down the drain.

It’s not a great use of your scarce time and valuable talent.

The ways we have group conversations on the whole reflects a historic, hierarchical and transactional way of working. And we have an alternative.

Our distinctive methodology and framework for conversations draws threads from multiple disciplines. These include systems thinking, relational dynamics, boundary spanning leadership, Gestalt psychology, neuroscience, community development… and honours the insights of Nancy Kline, amongst others, who first recognised the power of being listened to in order to ignite quality thinking.

Over the years we have developed Waterside Conversations as a way of holding the space for really good dialogue and creative thinking, with the potential to use the natural space in the valley if we host it here.

We currently offer Waterside Conversations to:

We also occasionally hire The Waterside to other organisations for their team development work.

With individuals

At a one-to-one level, Waterside Conversations provides the framework for you to work on the issues that are holding you back or clouding your sight.

Especially in positions of senior leadership, it is easy to assume you are doing your best and being effective because your diary is full. But you could be being busy doing the wrong thing, or you've lost sight of the bigger picture.

Or maybe you are at a cross-roads and need to find your voice for the next season.

Sometimes, too, you just get drained and need restoration, not simply more hours in the day. Persistence or stubbornness is not just another word for resilience!

And here is a great space to recharge.

Whilst a programme of coaching sessions can be helpful, sometimes you need more than this. This is where our day-long intensives here at The Waterside come into their own.

A whole day to work at your pace and have the space to really explore your underlying issues, with Sue’s support as an experienced leader, professional coach and thinking partner (with a particular interest in psychological wellbeing).

As Augustine of Hippo said: solvitur ambulando - it is solved by walking.

Regional Director, UK & Ireland

“Thank you … I found the session challenging yet invaluable – the equivalent of ‘a good workout’! Your insight and understanding is extremely impressive and provides a robust scrutiny that we don’t submit ourselves to frequently enough.”

MD of a specialist food manufacturing company

“Sue helped me look at things in a different way, act in a different way and deal with things and people in a different way…allowing me to be creative with the bigger picture and not get sucked in…” MD of a specialist food manufacturing company

With teams

We really enjoy designing and hosting team off-sites using the Waterside Conversations methodology and framework. These are not development workshops in the traditional sense with input and associated activity, but team conversations with a framework and process, working on an identified purpose.

The breakthroughs can be extraordinary and because we are working with you on your real, live issues, they continue long after the off-site has finished.

Working relationships change as people get to hear each other at a deeper level, as well as laugh and relax together. And of course it is set in an amazing location, with plenty of space to walk and talk.

Usually, the team that leaves is not the same team that arrived!

Normally these are a whole day, though there is the potential for 24 hours or more. And normally they are here at The Waterside.

Director, private hospital

“Thank you again for your help, and for prompting the questions we should be asking rather than the ones with the simple answers.” 

For collaborative conversations

Using our methodology and senior experience to host and hold cross-boundary and cross-organisational conversations.

We partner with people who want to use Waterside Conversations to explore an issue that is crucial to their purpose and requires wider engagement beyond their immediate organisation.

We also partner with organisations who want to resource a Waterside Conversation to further their purpose as a funding body. For example, a trust fund or a national body, where we would use the Waterside Conversations methodology and our expertise to host and hold an exploratory collaborative event.

Our role may also include event management and normally it would be held here at The Waterside - for a small to medium-sized group - though we have designed and hosted events elsewhere.

The length of event might be variable depending on the type and scale of the conversation.

Prof Harold Thimbleby, Swansea University and Fellow, Royal College of Physicians

(2012 - Sue has worked with Harold, a computer scientist with an international reputation on the human computer interface in medical devices, on a number of occasions subsequently)

“Organising scientists has mischievously been likened to herding cats, because it is notoriously impossible. Sue Heatherington helped me organise and run two of the most effective scientific meetings I have attended: fifty top international people worked together, thought in new ways, and were inspired to carry on working together after the event. Sue planned the meetings meticulously, but also had the professionalism on the day to seamlessly adapt and transform the activities to enable the meeting to exceed all expectations in quality, networking and in generating unexpected powerful ideas. Perhaps most impressively, she got people to work very hard, in new and sometimes challenging ways, and to enjoy the experience immensely. I’m going to run more of these meetings.”  

Wise Health

Health is not just the absence of disease, nor is it only about healthcare. Yet we can get stuck in our thinking, either about what it means or how we achieve it, both at an individual and population level.

We bring a strategic and systemic approach to health and wellbeing, which frequently highlights opportunities for innovation at the boundaries and enables connections to flourish.

Our experience spans not only senior leadership inside the NHS, in England and Wales, but also work with clients in the commercial, charitable and research spheres.

In particular, we can help you see the wider context of your endeavours and help change the conversation about wise health:

  • Consulting - At any one time we have a small number of health-related clients with whom we work in depth. They value our wisdom and insight in helping them navigate their development plans. These clients maybe UK or overseas based.
  • Event Design and Facilitation - Individually designed sessions, working with real issues, insightful engagement and always the end in mind.

Clients have included: various universities; Welsh Government; BioWales; life science and medical device companies; private healthcare organisations; medical schools; Royal College of Physicians; CHI+MED - an EPSRC multi-university research collaborative

Hire

Occasionally we are able to host your event here at The Waterside. This works best when you are clear that this is the kind of environment that you need to flourish and achieve the outcomes you are looking for. For example, time out for your top team; development work that requires thinking and creative space; a safe place to have the kind of conversations that you can’t have elsewhere.

Our well equipped lakeside Long Room is excellent for small to medium size groups (up to 18, though optimal for 5-10) and we can provide fresh homemade refreshments through the day and a simple homemade lunch.